May 15, 2021 — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown released several updates this week regarding the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and the changing guidelines for vaccinated populations. This comes after announcements made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on May 13.
“Today, the CDC issued new guidance for lifting mask and social distancing requirements for fully-vaccinated individuals,” Brown said. “It is yet another sign that, if we all continue to do our part, the pandemic is coming closer to an end. Starting today, Oregon will be following this guidance, which only applies to fully-vaccinated individuals. That means Oregonians who are fully-vaccinated no longer need to wear masks or social distance in most public spaces.”
The CDC’s update states that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.
Some local businesses have already said that they will continue to require masks until the government releases information on how to verify if someone is fully vaccinated.
Brown continued, “In the coming days, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) will be providing updated guidance for businesses, employers and others to allow the option of lifting mask and physical distancing requirements after verifying vaccination status. Some businesses may prefer to simply continue operating under the current guidance for now, rather than worrying about verifying vaccination status, and that’s fine.”
In addition, this week, the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup found that the Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine is safe and effective for 12- to 15-year-olds. Vaccinations are now open for all people age 12 and over.
The workgroup, made up of nationally-acclaimed scientists with expertise in immunization and public health, has concurrently and independently reviewed the FDA’s actions related to COVID-19 vaccines. Washington, Oregon, and Nevada joined California’s COVID-19 Scientific Safety Review Workgroup in October.
“This is great news for Oregon children, parents, and families,” Brown said. “Vaccination is the best tool we have to protect ourselves and our loved ones. With today’s review by leading doctors, pediatricians, and health experts, young Oregonians and parents can be confident in the safety and effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for youth. It is completely normal for parents and kids to have questions about vaccines — I urge you to reach out to your family doctor or pharmacist and get your questions answered today.”
The important thing, the governor emphasized in her statements this week, is getting vaccinated.
“The new CDC guidance makes clear that vaccines are the best tool to protect yourself, and everyone around you. Vaccines are also the fastest way to get back to doing the things we all love, and to returning to a sense of normalcy,” Brown said.
The OHA has ruled that most of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions can be lifted statewide when 70 percent of Oregonians 16 and older receive at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. As of press time Friday, 2.033 million people in Oregon have at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Of those, 1.552 million are fully vaccinated.
Beginning on Friday, May 21, counties will have the option of moving to the lower risk level of community spread of COVID-19 once 65 percent of county residents 16 and older have received at least one vaccine dose, and counties have submitted a complete plan to close equity gaps in vaccination.
“We still have some work to do to reach our 70 percent goal, but I am confident we can get there in June and return Oregon to a sense of normalcy,” Brown said. “So Oregon, this is our goal. We each play a part. If you have already been vaccinated, thank you. Now help a friend, family member or neighbor make an appointment. Spread the word that folks can call 2-1-1 or visit covidvaccine.oregon.gov for more information.”
People can learn more about the virus, and how to get vaccinated, at: